There has been a lot said in recent years about super bugs and how difficult it can be to fight these. These are especially prevalent in hospitals and medical care facilities. Part of the reason that they are said to proliferate there is that the air systems are by and large closed and that there is a possibility that the medical supplies are not always sterile when being used. As far as possible, disposable goods are used, but one cannot simply throw away a scalpel after it has been used once. Proper cleaning makes it easy to keep these items sterile and to keep your patients safe. It is your job as a health care provider to ensure that medical supply is thoroughly sterilized before it is used on a different patient. Read on for tips on this.
As always, you need to get your hands clean – use soap and warm water, pat dry and don a pair of gloves. The gloves will help protect you from contamination whilst cleaning the equipment.
Start by cleaning off as much muck as you can. Use surgical spirits and a cotton swab to do this. (This has a dual effect – it helps disinfect the items and helps to prevent corrosion). Get this done as quickly as possible to avoid staining.
Then it is time for the ultrasonic bath. Place the items into the bath. Cover with the solution and close the machine. Turn on for the recommended amount of time. (This will depend on how much is in there and how soiled it is but usually 15 minutes is long enough. The sound waves break the bond between the contaminants and the surface.
You will then want to use warm water to get rid of all evidence of the solution. Although not strictly essential, the solution can cause the equipment to become discolored. Though this is not dangerous in any way, it does not look good.
Pat the equipment dry gently using a paper towel and dispose of these once done.
Now you will need to get the autoclave bags out. The self-sealable variety is what you need here. These bags are really strong and can survive the autoclave.
Place them into the autoclave. Be sure that you are aware of how to properly operate this machine – the size of the load and the items therein will determine the amount of time and temperature required to sterilize the items. You should always be careful not to place more in the machine than recommended as that will affect its efficacy overall. Read the specs upfront.
The bags should have closed in the machine – you simply allow it to cool and remove to put in place for the next use.